What Are the Basics of Pulmonary Hypertension?

What is the definition of pulmonary hypertension?

Pulmonary hypertension (PH or PHTN) is a condition of elevated blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs.

There are difficult forms of pulmonary hypertension. In one common form, your capillaries and some tiny arteries will be blocked or damaged and blood is difficult to flow through your lungs, then the blood pressure within your lungs’ arteries will increase.

It should be noticed that some forms of pulmonary hypertension are serious conditions and they can be fatal.

What are the signs or symptoms of pulmonary hypertension?

The signs and symptoms of pulmonary hypertension may not be noticeable in its early stages, but when the disease progresses, signs or symptoms will become noticeable and even worse.

The possible signs or symptoms of pulmonary hypertension include:

  • A little swelling in legs or ankles.
  • Chest pain occasionally.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Fainting or syncope.
  • Easy to be fatigue.
  • Poor appetite.
  • A little pain in the right side of the abdomen.

What are the causes of pulmonary hypertension?

The causes of pulmonary hypertension include but not limited to:

  • Taking some drugs such as methamphetamines and certain prescription diet drugs.
  • Gene mutation.
  • Congenital heart disease.
  • HIV infection.
  • Chronic liver disease.
  • Left-sided heart disease.
  • Lung disease.
  • Chronic blood clots.
  • Blood disorders.
  • Metabolic disorders.
  • Overweight.
  • Family history.
  • Sleep apnea and other sleep disorders.
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

How to diagnose pulmonary hypertension?

Pulmonary hypertension can be diagnosed by its symptoms (described above) and by some medical tests.

Medical tests for pulmonary hypertension include:

Physical examination
It is the first step to check whether you have got pulmonary hypertension. A physical examination can trace the signs or symptoms of the disease.

Doppler echocardiography can suggest the presence of pulmonary hypertension.

Pulmonary function tests
Those tests include arterial blood gas measurements, high-resolution computed tomography (CT) scanning, X-rays of the chest and lung diffusion capacity for carbon monoxide.

Other tests include Electrocardiography (ECG), right heart catheterization, ventilation/perfusion scintigraphy, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ventilation/perfusion (V/Q) scan and open-lung biopsy.

How to treat pulmonary hypertension?

The treatments for hypertension are divided into surgery, medical treatments and home treatments.

Medical treatments

  • Taking blood vessel dilators (vasodilators) including Epoprostenol (Flolan, Veletri), Iloprost (Ventavis), Treprostinil (Tyvaso, Remodulin, Orenitram).
  • Using sildenafil and tadalafil including Sildenafil (Revatio, Viagra) and Tadalafil (Cialis, Adcirca).
  • Taking high-dose calcium channel blockers including Nifedipine (Procardia, others), Amlodipine (Norvasc), and Diltiazem (Cardizem, Tiazac, others).
  • Taking soluble guanylate cyclase (SGC) stimulator.
  • Taking endothelin receptor antagonists including Bosentan (Tracleer), Macitentan (Opsumit), and Ambrisentan (Letairis).
  • Taking digoxin (Lanoxin).


Surgeries for pulmonary hypertension include transplantation and atrial septostomy.

Home treatments

  • Have enough rest.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Avoid birth control pills.
  • Keep a healthy weight.
  • Have a nutritious diet.
  • Do moderate exercise.
  • Avoid living at high altitudes.

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